Poker is a captivating game. The strategy, the tactics and the psychological and mental work one needs to invest in playing the game all make it enthralling and keep audiences at the edge of their seat. If you've been captivated by the game — whether by witnessing an online poker game among friends or at any of the major poker tournaments — learning how to play poker will greatly increase your enjoyment of the game. That being said, if you're keen to begin your journey but don't know where to start, this guide is exactly what you need. This blog post explores how to play poker, the basics and some slightly more advanced ideas such as Game Theory Optimal (GTO.)
As Julie Andrews' character says in “Sound of Music,” “Let's start at the beginning. A very good place to start.” Learning and memorizing poker basics, such as the hands and their ranking, the table positions and what they mean, is a great place to start. Familiarizing yourself with the sundry terminology used in the game will also go a long way. The vast number of online resources on the game, such as video tutorials, courses and books, are sure to help you get going. Having a good grasp of how to play the poker basics gives you a solid foundation for further exploration.
One of the best ways to learn something is by observing how it's done. For this reason, one of the best ways to learn poker is by watching experts play, whether in an online poker tournament or at a land-based casino. Observing them will expose you to the tricks of the game and you'll gain a wealth of insights about various aspects of strategy and tactics.
These two components of poker are integral to your development as a committed poker player. While each is demanding on its own, your initial learning should include a bit of both. Strategy lets you plan your game as a whole, from start to finish. It's all about the choices you make after taking into consideration factors such as the pot size, the position of the table, stack size, opponents' playing style and so on.
Tactics, on the other hand, are the exact actions you take to execute your strategy as you navigate every hand you have been dealt. Tactics are applied on a play-by-play basis and shouldn't be thought of as cookie-cutter rules that you take to the game. For instance, while playing a round of Texas Hold'em you do the math and then realize that the set of hands is bad. One tactic can be to fold in order to cut your losses instead of calling or raising the bet and losing more.
The last basic rule is that, as much as watching the masters play may be insightful, nothing lets you learn how to play poker faster than trying your hand at the game. When you practice, you put the knowledge you've gained to the test and you're able to quickly determine where you need to focus in order to improve your game. That's why one of the pro tips is to sign up to sites where you can play poker online for really low stakes. There are several reasons for this, but aside from being able to play without the fear of being mocked for being a noob, putting money on the line, however little, will keep you invested in winning.
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